With more than 100 property owners and 550 tenants, Gurgaon-based ZiffyHomes offers furnished rooms for bachelors who cannot afford a whole house or do not want PG accommodation.
When I ask him what he aspired to be while growing up, Patna-born Sanchal Ranjan says, “Coming from a middle-class family there was always this aspiration to do well in studies and eventually become an industrialist.”
After shifting to Delhi from Bengaluru, he spent 15 days in company accommodation. It was a nightmare finding a place of his own as landlords were reluctant to rent out their homes to bachelors.
Paying guest accommodation came with its own set of restrictions and discomforts, including food. Rental apartments involved other hassles like broker charges, furnishing costs and the dreaded interviews with landlords.
Why should bachelors suffer to get the accommodation they desire? Brothers Sanchal and Saurabh Ranjan sought to answer this question and address their own issues by starting ZiffyHomes in 2015.
Starting a business is easy, however sustaining it and making a profit are the usual challenges faced. Sanchal’s hands-on experience with high-end realtors helped him shape the business according to the needs of the market. He previously worked at KMPG as an analyst and later with Deloitte Consulting. Co-founder Saurabh is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and had worked in SBI Capital Markets as Assistant Vice President and Mitsui OSK Lines as Assistant Engineer.
According to the founders, ZiffyHomes is India’s first “technology driven home rental marketplace” which makes it simple to rent homes. It is a discovery platform which offers ready to move-in individual rooms to tenants for long stays without any worry of maintenance, convenience of online rent payment and freedom to move across homes.
The process is simple. It starts with the business development team getting house owners on board for exclusive partnerships with ZiffyHomes. Post inspection and furnishing of the property as per the parameters set, they make it available for online visits – scheduling and directly booking of rooms.
After booking is done, the team ensures that police verification and rent agreement are ready for the resident when he gets ready to move in. The amenities do not end here. ZiffyHomes also provides other facilities like online rent payments, requests for repair and maintenance, and also, several discount packages for different business partners.
Funding the idea
The duo was looking at returns from Day 1, so they bootstrapped the company with a personal investment of Rs 23.5 lakh as seed capital. Initially, convincing landlords to rent out their properties to a property management firm who in turn would rent out rooms to bachelors was tough.
ZiffyHomes has close to 550 tenants and 100 owners on the platform. The average number of tenants for a property is four. According to Sanchal, the company adds around 30 property owners and 120 tenants every month though this number varies.
ZiffyHomes charges 10 percent on every transaction as property management fees from the owners. The startup is showing a revenue growth of 20 percent month-on-month.
Currently operational in Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi, ZiffyHomes has plans to expand to other metros like Bengaluru, Pune, and Hyderabad by the end of this year.
ZiffyHomes has 30 employees working full-time and is operational in Delhi NCR.
Where is the Indian rental market heading?
Though the report by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation predicts the overall Indian rental real estate market to touch $180 billion by 2020 and contribute close to 6 percent of the country’s GDP, it remains quite fragmented.
There are several rental startups like YourOwnRoom, Homigo and Nestaway, which follow a co-living kind of rental model. Other startups in this space are StayAbode, CoHo, Rentroomi and WudStay.
“We have plans to provide services across all smart cities of India where there are more migrants who expect quality rentals. We aim to leverage rental analytics to provide streamlined returns to house owners for their investment and eliminate rental disparity among residents. By the next fiscal year we would have projected revenues close to Rs 18 crore on an annual basis,” says Sanchal.